It's heart wrenching! An emotional roller coaster ride packed in 90 seconds of visual delight. The official trailer of the 2012 LES MISERABLES movie, an adaptation of the Claude Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil musical, starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe, was released a few days ago. I cannot contain my excitement. Like I was a 10-year-old kid again, "I want to watch the movie now"! (sigh…) For now, I guess I'll just have to satisfy myself with watching YouTube videos of I Dreamed a Dream, On My Own, A Little Fall of Rain, Empty Chairs and Empty Tables, and One Day More, my favorites from the musical, and incessantly click the repeat button, until the December showing of the movie. (another sigh…)
Here is what I am talking about. Prepare to take a brief emotional roller coaster ride. Watch this official Les Miserables 2012 movie trailer:
THE RELUCTANT PROSTITUTE.
Anne Hathway plays the part of Fantine. Did you catch a glimpse of Anne Hathaway's expression when her hair is being cut? Sublime! Can you feel her anxiety, sadness, fear, and bitterness? She just learned that her dearest child who is living far away from her and being taken cared of by strangers, is sick. She just lost her job because of false accusations of sleeping with the boss, and blamed for making a ruckus in her workplace. She has no money, left alone by her child's father, no relatives, nothing! So there's no recourse for weary Fantine but to sell her gorgeous hair. She is just one step away in selling her body. Goodness gracious! Good story, isn't it? That's just a minuscule part of the brilliant 19th century political and philosophical French novel of the great Victor Hugo.
Anne Hathaway is singing parts of the iconic song I Dreamed a Dream as the trailer goes on. She is obviously no Lea Salonga, Ruthie Henshall, or Patti Lupone (should I include Susan Boyle?) but, you cannot deny Anne Hathaway's tempestuous rendition. The emotions jump out of the screen and engulf you. I know she'll be great in the movie.
I must confess. I am a Les Miserables fanatic… at least of the musical. I am not a fan of Anne Hathaway. So, you should believe me when I say those good things about her. LOL.
I have not read the book. When I was in college, I tried. I bought a paperback copy of the novel and read the first few pages. I thought to myself, "who writes this way?". Apparently, geniuses. It was hard for me to understand "archaic" English words (well, the original book is written in French, and has been translated countless times), and at most times the structure of the sentences is too much for me. Maybe I should give reading the book another try?
Thank heavens there's the musical adaptation of the novel in English. I learned about the musical in 1989 during the search for "Miss Saigon" by producer Cameron Macintosh, composer Claude Michel Schonberg, and lyricist Alain Boublil. Their last stop for their worldwide search was in Manila and here is where they found KIM of MISS SAIGON - the great LEA SALONGA. Lea Salonga sang "On My Own" from the Les Miserables musical in her audition. It became very popular after that. So, I got a cassette tape of the London Original Cast Recording of Les Miserables. I fell in love with it. I downloaded the libretto and finally, I understood what the novel is about! LOL. Unfortunately, I don't have the cassette tape anymore.
When the CD of the Original Broadway Cast Recording came out, I naturally bought a copy. Then came the 1995 tenth anniversary concert. Lea Salonga was cast as Eponine in the so-called DREAM CAST. "On My Own" became her signature song. Salonga's rendition is considered by most critics and many Les Miserables fans as the gold standard for that iconic song. (Okay, I ambiased because I am a die-hard Salonga fan.)
HOLD YOUR BREATH.
Hold your breath for the December 2012 showing of the Les Miserables movie. I hope that the movie is "sung-through" (i.e., no spoken dialogue; all dialogue are sang). Most fans of the musical are used to hearing POWERFUL voices and AWARD-WINNING performances. Will the cast of the movie live up to the expectations of the musical's fans? I hope they do.
Hugh Jackman is Jean Valjean. He is a great singer. Many people don't know about it. I am sure he can pull the role off. Russell Crowe as Javert is another story. I haven't heard him sing. Acting of course, will not be a problem, for sure. Anne Hathaway is Fantine. She does not have a powerful voice compared to those great Broadway and West End superstars but, I believe that her acting might merit an Oscar nod. Samantha Barks as Eponine would do great. She already performed in the 25th Anniversary Concert held at the O2 Arena in London in October of 2010. These are a few more reasons to watch the movie.
So, see you at the movies? I bet, it will be great!